Sunday, June 24, 2007
Somewhere over the rainbow . . .
. . .there is a mysterious place that is free of all of the farce and nastiness that goes on in the hospital system.
Sometimes when I am drifting off to sleep at night, I like to imagine this place in my head. It is a special place. Some would even call it magical.
All that glitters is gold. There are unicorns, pixies and elves in the woods on the hospital grounds who are seen by everybody, not just those who have gone for 30 hours without sleep. In the middle of the night they clean and wax your cars and procure you healthy take-away food when the hospital cafe is closed at dinner-time, and surround everybody entering and leaving the hospital with a wondrous cloud of pixie dust and cheerful applause.
When you ask a more senior member of staff a perfectly reasonable question, they look deeply into your eyes, give you an honest, in-depth answer, and then thank you for your hard work and effort. Whenever you turn a corner, you will often see consultants shaking hands with the cleaning staff and wards-people for the tireless work that they do.
The medical students are well-trained, hard-working and prepared for every situation, due to the top-notch training and mentoring that has been invested in them by the staff who have sufficient time set aside each day for this important task. They feel like a valued part of the team, and love coming to the hospital. They look forward to graduating and coming back as interns, knowing that the training that they have received will stand them in good stead to step up to the role ahead of them.
When a patient has just had their life saved and they thank the doctor, the doctor replies, "Thanks, Mr/Mrs Smith, don't just thank me. It was a team effort!"
In the operating theatres, the surgeons and the anaesthetists all get along really well. Everything runs on time, the teams are prefectly co-ordinated, and when there is an emergency case or equipment malfunction, nobody gets angry and attacks the nearest helpless minion. They all just nod, smile and say, "Oh well, these things happen, let's make sure the urgent cases get done first and then we'll take it from there."
The doctors value the nurses, the nurses respect the doctors, and the nurses don't take out their frustrations on everybody else. It is a wonderful place, where everyone who walks through the door knows that it take much more than doctors and nurses to care for patients.
The patients are all seen promptly, treated as individuals and experience excellent care due to the large number of qualified staff allocated to look after them. Nobody ever slips through the cracks.
Nobody ever assumes that psychiatrists are crazy or aren't real doctors. The surgeons go home every night at 5pm to their happy families. The other staff know that anaesthetists do more than sit in the corner and play sodoku, and are applying passive attention as well as working hard behind their drapes and machines. The pathology staff are seen as a valuable part of the team, and everybody comprehends what they do. The radiology department is loved by all, everybody understands that you can't fit three patients into the CT scanner at once no matter how urgent they all are, and people appreciate the valuable skills and years of work that have gone into the expertise of the radiologists.
People understand that certain test results can't be received instantly because of the time required to do them. Everybody knows what all those other people in strange uniforms who aren't doctors or nurses actually do. The small amount of administrative staff who are required are extremely competent and get everybody's pay right the first time.
Usually by this time, I have drifted off into a blissful sleep, where nobody ever throws instruments in rage, yells at me for broken equipment, rolls their eyes when I show up to perform a test that they actually requested or tells everybody (right in front of me) that I am a moron and they could do my job easily when it took me an entire 4-year degree to become qualified. One can only dream . . .